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Mathews: Angel Tree project a way for SMC to give back

Published 5:36pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012

By Dr. DAVID M. MATHEWS

President, Southwestern Michigan College

As the holiday season comes upon us, faculty and staff at Southwestern Michigan College have been busy with the college’s annual Angel Tree project. For more than 20 years, the college has participated in this project organized by the Cass County Department of Human Services (DHS).

The names of each recipient are chosen by the agency from families who participate in various DHS programs. This year, 39 needy children from within the college’s service district were chosen to receive gifts bought by the SMC staff.

Each year, our staff generously volunteers in this project so that many children within the community, who may not otherwise receive anything because of their families’ economic situation, have gifts to open. Most years, there are more volunteers than what is needed. Most of the SMC employees with children who participate in the Angel Tree project choose an angel of the same age as their children. This way their children can participate in the shopping and wrapping of the gifts.

SMC’s Angel Tree project is coordinated by the college president’s office. The name of each child selected by DHS, along with their gender, clothing size and a small toy ‘wish list’ are placed on a card and hung on the Angel Tree. SMC employees visit the tree and choose an ‘angel’ and go shopping.

From what we can tell, delivering the gifts must be an enjoyable experience because the same people seem to volunteer for this task year after year. Four members of the SMC staff will deliver the presents to each family Dec. 15.

Continuing the tradition of giving to those most needy in our community, Southwestern Michigan College staff and faculty are proud to participate in the annual Angel Tree project.

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